‘Let’s Meet Violence With Violence:’ Mass Police Association Executive Rick Pedrini Rails Against Restraint and De-Escalation

For one incoming leader of the Massachusetts Police Association, restraint, de-escalation and stigma reduction are dirty words.

Rick Pedrini, an Arlington police lieutenant who will soon become the MPA’s executive director, has penned three columns railing against criminal justice reform, progressive policing practices, migrants seeking asylum and Colin Kaepernick.

“I am sick and tired of the social justice warriors telling us how to do our jobs. It’s time we forget about ‘restraint’, ‘measured responses’, ‘procedural justice’, ‘de-escalation’, ‘stigma-reduction’, and other feel-good BS that is getting our officers killed,” Pedrini wrote in the 2018 edition of The Sentinel, the official publication of the MPA. “Let’s stop lipsynching, please! Let’s meet violence with violence and get the job done.”

For Pedrini, the men who shot and killed Yarmouth Sgt. Sean Gannon and Weymouth Sgt. Michael Chesna earlier this year are not simply murderers or criminals. Rather, they are “maggots” and “animals” who “can only be ‘rehabilitated’ when they are put down.”

And the broader “criminal class,” as Pedrini puts it, fares little better in his writing. In the articles, he slams the criminal reform bill signed into law in April as a giveaway to “maggot” offenders.

“If you haven’t read it, the ‘CJ Reform Bill’ is 100 plus pages of blather and feel-good initiatives that will do nothing to put maggot criminals behind bars,” Pedrini wrote.

The bill eliminated a handful of mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealing, softened the law for certain juvenile defendants and raised the threshold for felony theft, among other reforms. It also tightened penalties for fentanyl trafficking and established a mandatory minimum sentence for assault and battery on a police officer.

The law was hotly debated in criminal justice circles, with reformist prosecutors like Attorney General Maura Healey and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan advocating for the measure and other district attorneys expressing reservations.

Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan told MassLive Pedrini’s comments do not represent the department’s viewpoints or policies. The Arlington Police Department has received recognition for its humane approach to addiction and mental health, which includes having a clinician embedded within the department. And it is one of 10 law enforcement agencies nationwide designated as a mental health training site by the Council of State Governments.

“Mr. Pedrini writes as an MPA official, not as an official of the APD,” Ryan wrote in an email. “APD’s unwavering commitment to fair and impartial policing has been well documented.”

In an interview, Ryan said he understands if community members become concerned about Pedrini’s approach to conflict resolution after reading his comments.

“I too am concerned and I will take immediate measures to address the situation,” Ryan said. “The public doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but they expect us to be honest. And I will have a through and transparent review of this matter.”

Pedrini did not return an email seeking comment prior to publication of this story.

Much of Pedrini’s writing in The Sentinel was dedicated to the killings of Gannon and Chesna — twin tragedies that saw respected officers killed while trying to apprehend men with previous criminal records. Thomas Latanowich is accused of ambushing and fatally shooting Gannon while the officer was attempting to serve him with a warrant in April. And Emanuel Lopes is accused of throwing a rock at Chesna’s head, stealing his gun and fatally shooting him and a bystander after Chesna tried to prevent him from vandalizing a home.

The killings sparked a wave of outrage and mourning from fellow officers, the public and elected officials. In his articles, Pedrini voiced anger at public officials he felt were insufficiently supportive of police.

“These are the same people who have tied our hands with CJ Reform, de-criminalization of dangerous narcotics, and the current juvenile justice disaster,” he wrote. “How about you all just leave us alone, go down to the border, and hand out tin-foil blankets to the people you really care about? Or maybe drop the charade and get out on the streets with BLM, Antifa, and the ‘Resist’ crowd. That’s all you’re good for. We know whose side you’re on and it’s not ours.”

His writing also strayed into his personal politics, including a riff in which he compared the “caravan” of migrants currently walking across Mexico to seek asylum in the United States to Japanese invaders during World War II.

“Back on December 7th, 1941, a caravan of Japanese planes tried this in Hawaii. We shot at them. Hell, we didn’t even suspend posse comitatus,” Pedrini wrote. “The famed Japanese Admiral Yamamoto once said, ‘You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would a rifle behind every blade of grass.’ How times have changed. Today, we’d let them land on our airstrips.”

The MPA is a law enforcement advocacy organization that provides services for officers and lobbies for legislation to support police. The organization did not return a request for comment prior to publication.

Source: https://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/10/lets_meet_violence_with_violen.html